Logging Fundamentals

ETLBox can work with the Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.ILogger interface for logging. This article will show you how to connect ETLBox logging with an existing ILogger instance.

Microsoft Logging Extensions

ETLBox uses Microsoft.Extensions.Logging by default. This means you can use any logging framework that works with it, like NLog   or Serilog   .

To use your favorite logging framework, add it as a dependency to your project. Make sure it supports the Microsoft.Extensions.Logging API.

Structured logging

All logging messages of ETLBox are structured. Depending on your logging framework, you may analyse the messages either as whole or access parts of it.

Each message has the following values within its scope:

  • The (resolved) name of the component: taskName
  • The class name of the task or component that produces the log output: taskType
  • The unique hash value of the specific task or component: taskHash

By default, the name of a task is the class name. All data flow component and control flow tasks have a TaskName property - once this property is set to a custom name, this will be used instead.

Some components in ETLBox may utilize other ETLBox components during execution. E.g. the DbMerge will use an internal network, which contains a LookupTransformation, and multiple DbDestinations. These components will produce also produce log output when execute within the context of the DbMerge. The TaskName send to the logger does reflect this parent-child relationship. E.g. the Lookup inside the DbMerge will have the taskName: Lookup < DbMerge.

To identify only information about top parent to which the component belongs, the scope is extended with:

  • The name of the root/parent component: rootTaskName
  • The task type of the root/parent: rootTaskType
  • The unique hash value of the root/parent: rootTaskHash

Some messages may also contain the following event items:

  • Action of the message. Action can be ‘START’ for first log message or ‘END’ (component finished), other log messages don’t have an action: action
  • Some messages log the current progress and have a progress count value: progressCount

Extending the scope

You can extend the scope with custom parameter by adding values to Settings.AdditionalScope.

Settings.AdditionalScope = new Dictionary<string, object> {
    { "env", "test" }

If you are using the (optional) nuget package ETLBox.Logging, you can set up information about the current load process when using the LoadProcess class. If you use this class to start/end/abort load process, the AdditionalScope dictionaly will be automatically extended with the loadProcessId of the current load process.

Disable logging

Perhaps you want some particular tasks or components not to produce any log output, but you don’t want to remove the logging completely. For this case you can use the DisableLogging property on every task or component in ETLBox. E.g., if you create a new DbSource, just set the property to true:

DbSource source = new DbSource("TableName") { DisableLogging = true};

If you want to disable logging in general for all tasks, you can set the static property DisableAllLogging in the ControlFlow class:

Logging.DisableAllLogging = true;

Whenever set to true, no logging output will be produced. When set back to false, logging will be activated again.

Example logging with NLog

The following chapters will describe an example logging setup using NLog.

To get started with nlog, you need to add NLog.Extensions.Logging   as a package reference to your project.

We recommend to read the introduction into logging with NLog   .

In order to use logging with Nlog, you have to create a nlog.config file (with this exact name) and put it into the root folder of your project. Make sure that it is copied into your output directory.

Create log instance

Now we need to create a logger instance, and then assign it to the static property Settings.LogInstance.

There are two different ways to create a log instance that implements ILogger: Either we can use the LoggerFactory, or we use an approach that uses Dependency injection.

Here is the code to create a NLog instance using the LoggerFactory:

using var loggerFactory = LoggerFactory.Create(builder => {
        .AddFilter("Microsoft", Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.LogLevel.Warning)
        .AddFilter("System", Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.LogLevel.Warning)
ETLBox.Settings.LogInstance = loggerFactory.CreateLogger("Default");

Depending on your project type, you may already have an instance of an ILogger object injected in your code. Then you simply need to assign this instance to Settings.LogInstance, and you are ready to go.

Logging into files

NLog can be easily configured to have your logging output stored in files, or to other logger targets like the console output. Here is an example for a simple configuration that will create a log file in your application directory, and display a formatted log output in your console window.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<!-- XSD manual extracted from package NLog.Schema: https://www.nuget.org/packages/NLog.Schema-->
<nlog xmlns="http://www.nlog-project.org/schemas/NLog.xsd" xsi:schemaLocation="NLog NLog.xsd"
      internalLogLevel="Info" >

    <!-- the targets to write to -->
        <target name="logfile" xsi:type="AsyncWrapper"
            <target xsi:type="File" fileName="log.txt"
                      layout="${longdate}|${level}|${mdlc:item=taskType}|${event-properties:item=action}|${mdlc:item=taskHash}|${mdlc:item=taskName}|${event-properties:item=progressCount}|${message}" />
        <target xsi:type="Console" name="logconsole"                      
                       layout="${longdate}|${level}|${pad:padding=20:fixedLength=true:inner=${mdlc:item=taskType}}|${pad:padding=5:fixedLength=true:inner=${event-properties:item=action}}|${pad:padding=5:fixedLength=true:inner=${mdlc:item=taskHash}}|${pad:padding=20:fixedLength=true:inner=${mdlc:item=taskName}}|${message}"  />

    <!-- rules to map from logger name to target -->
        <logger name="*" minlevel="Debug" writeTo="logfile,logconsole" />

As you can see, the log output into the file is formatted using a particular NLog notation in the Layout attribute. NLog does provide LayoutRenderer   which allow you to access structured log messages. You can either access the whole message using ${message} or access particular items in the log message itself (with event-properties ) or items which are in the scope of the message (with mdlc).

The following items are possible values when accessing structured log messages in ETLBox

//The complete log message

//The name of the component

//The class name of the task or component that produces the log output:

//The unique hash value of the specific task or component

//The name of the parent component, if applicable

//The class name of the parent task or component, if applicable

//The unique hash value of the parent task or component, if applicable

//Actions can be 'START' (first log message) or 'END' (component finished)
//other log messages don't have an action

//Some messages log the current progress and have a progress count value

When using ETLBox.Logging and the LoadProcess task, the AdditionalScope dictionary is extended with this item:

//If a load process was started, the load process id is in here

Debugging logging issues

NLog normally behaves very “fault-tolerant”. By default, if something is not setup properly or does not work when NLog tries to log, it just “stops” working without throwing an exception or stopping the execution. This behaviour is very desirable in a production environment, but hard to debug.

If you need to debug Nlog, you can change the nlog root-element of the nlog.config into:

<nlog xmlns="http://www.nlog-project.org/schemas/NLog.xsd"
      xsi:schemaLocation="NLog NLog.xsd"

With this configuration it will raise an exception and also log it into a file.

Example logging with Serilog

The following example shows how Serilog can be added to a Console application. This approach will be different e.g. for an ASP.NET application.

Make sure to add Serilog.Extensions.Logging and Serilog.Extensions.Hosting to your program, and the sink that you want to log (e.g. Console).

Now you could configure your logger like this:

var serilogLogger = new LoggerConfiguration()
    .WriteTo.Console(outputTemplate: "[{Timestamp:HH:mm:ss} {Level:u3} {taskName}] {Message:lj}"+Environment.NewLine)

Settings.LogInstance = new SerilogLoggerFactory(serilogLogger).CreateLogger("Default");

The following additional variables are available when configuring your output template:

{taskType}, {taskHash}, {taskName}, {rootTaskType}, {rootTaskHash}, {rootTaskName}, {action}, {progressCount}